Multiple people have asked me if I feel I experience something different than others. Do I think I am the only person who feels heavy things? Do I feel I am the only one who feels different? Am I the only one who goes through the battles I do? The answer is in the details. One by one of those details I am not different at all. I am connected in that one thing with a million other people and billions more who lived on this planet before I arrived. I don’t feel one truly novel thing new to the human race. I could be depressed, overwhelmed, suicidal, glorious, euphoric, misunderstood. I could love more than one person. I could be attracted to someone of the same gender. I could be a murderer. I could be forced into sex trafficking. I could feel as if I don’t have talents or I could feel I have my self esteem because of the talents I do have. I could have an insanely busy family schedule as a mother. I could have cancer. I could keep secrets or I could be an open book. Almost everyone feels social anxiety to some level. Almost everyone wants to be understood. Almost everyone is afraid of something. We are all human. We have each individual DNA strand in common. Same strands but expressed very differently. Consciousness expresses it differently. Legacy predisposes us to act differently. And yet, look at how similar we are.
To the question “Do I think I am the only one who feels these things?” The answer is no. Social isolation that cripples us mentally lies in forgetting how alike we are to others. Someone somewhere is dealing with what you are in some way. Every person you meet has SOMETHING in common with you. However, they aren’t you.
Being different doesn’t cause us pain. Our point of focus keeps us isolated and in pain. If we focus only on differences and distance we will not ever be touched by the moment’s right next to us. If we desire a hug and ignore the air around us, we push away the moments we belong. If we refuse to connect in the million small ways we are similar because we are too focused on the vast miles of differences that also exist we deny all the good that DOES exist. We don’t get to find people who understand us holistically. We find few who understand us on complete full levels. We don’t have to wait until we do. We can take the little moments of touching people along the way to heal our souls from isolation.
Am I different? Yes I am very different. I may connect with you in understanding big concerns like cancer, human trafficking, parenting, deep suffering, social anxiety, or a host of other deep concerns. We may even share one or two. We may share other small concerns. School, feeling beautiful, self esteem, social concerns, etc. I don’t personally understand all of these issues I mentioned. I have my own story. Others probably have experienced whole worlds more than I have that I can’t understand at all right now. We are all more than these differences though. We are connected from our similarities; no matter how small.
I want to understand those who know more than me. I want them to take the time to connect and share their world and let me share mine. It is not that I understand less but that I understand differently. My stack of knowledge is piled high but different than yours. Let me learn from you and increase our connection. Don’t cut me short of that opportunity because our small similarities aren’t enough to make you feel ‘seen’.
Likewise, I may not often be like you. You may see those small things you think you understand about me but there are miles to me that can’t be seen. My potential, my past, my stress, my aspergers, my hopes, my walls and fears which are paralytic; My talents and abilities are crushing battles can’t get the hug the way they hoped for. It isn’t real life. I don’t need to be miserable about it. I don’t need to pretend I am exactly the same either. I am not the same. Sorry but I can’t be sorry. I also can’t be miserable that I am alone in it either. My focus is changing.
I am focused on all the ways I do belong. The same technique exists to pull yourself out of a panic attack. You focus on what you are feeling. You can feel the earth pushing up against your feet and your hands touching something. Truly feel it. Focus on it. Focus on your breathing like the waves of an ocean. The tides come in and out the same way to find air just a little bit different, hitting at different angles of your lungs, releasing back to the trees waiting for its release. Focus on what you can see. The things that are placid, still, solid. Focus on the colors you can see. Focus on the shapes. Focus on every small thing you can hear. Focus on the air, the buzz, the birds, the clanks, the voices, the breathing. Focus. Move to your soul. Focus on the people who are there. Focus on how you are alike. Focus on how that other person has hopes like you, fears to be judged or misunderstood like you, dreams like you, etc. Focus on how you belong. Connect. Accept what IS and keep going with peace in your heart. You got another piece of a connection. They might not see all of you or even be capable of it. But someday you might bless them by showing and enriching their life in whatever way they are ready for. Learn something about them.

It really is all about focus. Believe in your souls’ ability to exist by itself without the hug of understanding. Believe all you know matters. Let go of the overwhelming beliefs that you need someone to see all of you. Let go of the belief that your differences mean you must be alienated from others. Let go of your believe that similarities have to be holistic to connect people. Believe that no matter how small, connections matter. Let your heart smile. Let people who are deeply engrained in your deepest matters touch your soul to that level. Let people who experience trials to a less degree but equally as difficult level touch you there irrespective of any other level that exists inside you. Let people come and go. Let nature come and go. YOU stay steady. See your path through to the end. Focus. Focus your senses. Focus your soul. You exist. You are different. There is no shame in that. You need others? They are there! They can’t all be there all the way all the time. It is up to you to let those connections matter on the level they are meant to exist at.
So thankfully I AM different. I don’t lie to myself that I am the same. But I don’t deny myself my similarities. When you are around the simple long enough you learn the blueprint to the complex. Simple grows fast, broad, and deep. The complex is still built upon the simple. It never disappears, goes away, or morphs into something new. It stays the same and simply replicates and becomes larger. Stay connected with the simple and you won’t be isolated regardless of how deep you go or how different you become you won’t feel isolated even if you live alone. Namaste!

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Image  —  Posted: March 2, 2015 in Squires family blog
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If I were to ask you what the worst feeling in the world would be, what would you say?
You most likely answered with a horrible feeling. A negative emotion.
Negative. Bad. Horror. All of the things we seek to avoid or eradicate.
But while we are running from these worst feelings, these bad experiences, the worst things the mind can conceive, what are we REALLY doing? The mind does not have a memory for pain. You can think back on a memory and remember all sorts of details and feelings but you can never remember EXACTLY what the pain felt like. Not physically and not fully emotionally. The closest we can get is to go to a place in our mind and let something sting us into our soul remembering something bitter. The human body has a conditioned response to avoid pain.
But are we really avoiding pain or are we searching for a happier feeling? We are equating no pain with complete happiness when this is not the case. No pain = nothingness. Working out is painful but because we achieve a plateau of health,we push through the pain. Without muscles tearing, without sweating, without heavy breathing and straining we can’t achieve heights with the human body. Our body doesn’t release chemical endorphin’s. We know this about the human body. This same rule applies to the spirit. Those who seek through prayer, meditation, or inward journeys of sacrifice can attest that, in those moments, the soul has trouble breathing. Those moments our heart aches. Those heavy times are worth the plateau of a peaceful and even center. People travel the world to try to find just a glimpse of that moment. This is where the complexity comes in.
The spirit and body are tied together. You can’t get hurt physically and have your spirit ignore it for long. It affects and wounds the spirit too. You can’t get hurt emotionally on a deep level and expect it not to also affect how the body functions. It will affect its chemicals, its stress reaction, its biorhythms.  So now, lets quickly remember the first question I entered with…If I were to ask you what the WORST feeling in the world would be what would you say? Would it still be something negative? Fear. Lonliness. Heartbreak. Terror. Hatred. etc etc…
The worst feeling in the world is neutrality. It is indifference. It is the mundane. It leads to nowhere. There is no plateau of greatness but it seeps the life out of the spirit and the body. It is the easiest course to become nothing. People who hate us, use us, leave us, deceive us are giving us the traction we need to become great and strong. They gave Anne Frank the keys to what human life are about. They gave the answers to Victor Frankel. They gave the answers to victims. They gave the answers to every soul who felt the pain. The enemy is not pain. The enemy is not how hard a situation is, how impossible the situation is, how devastatingly unfair a situation is, how cruel a person is; the enemy is not the darkness. Even within the dark there are shades arguing what is good and bad, right and wrong. The enemy is the conditioning that freedom is painless. There is a wonderful quote “Pain demands to be felt”. If for one moment you quit running from pain and start reading what it has to say, if instead of closing your eyes you demand they stay open, if instead of letting your life be about money, bills, goals, society, survival and search out what life is SAYING inside the waves of pain, disappointment, hopes, dreams, discouragement, hatred, fear, anger, love, acceptance, mistakes, pursuits, champions then you will find you are no longer neutral anymore. You are no longer seeking goals that continue your own tether to this magnet of avoidance. Your goals won’t be “I will do this so I will never feel this pain and neither will anyone else”. Your goals will be “no matter where I go, I will allow myself to feel. I will not avoid. I will conquer it.”
Everything ends in life. My one fear is that I will have remained neutral mentally for too long. I won’t have touched upon what great souls touched upon and reach that spiritual plateau where I FEEL happy. Where I operate with a strength and presence of understanding. The spirit craves pain as the only way to burst free of the cocoon of neutrality. There is no way to be free of fires because true peace is being inside of the fires and not being harmed anymore❤
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I was the clue

Posted: May 28, 2014 in Poetry
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They tore it down.
The world I loved.
There was no reason for it, not really. There was hate built around fear and anger around injustice to ideas.
It turned friends into enemies and gave amnesia to love.
It hit me over the head so hard I forgot where I lived and what it felt like to sit down with tea and overlook the river.
They lied.
They burned every journal and every word I had written
Gossiped a new history, wrote it down in gold
Shaking their heads they said I should have gone, I did not belong.
They whitewashed their hands in the river of blood
They were blinded and saw only a flash flood
It was hard to move on when the stories were told
Haunting
I did not recognize
They painted my picture and believed it was me.
A picture of Everest trying to be passed off as a tree.
Incredulous face
same newer streets
I sat down with chai and thought about how I should meet
a new person
An old friend
A busy port
a connection again.
All the streets signs wrote lies and only I knew
If a soul ever met me anew
I would be living in an old world
and they in the new.
I wonder which world could possibly be true.
Just like that I was foreign
My face broken and blue
It would turn peach and olive in hue
however they had torn it apart that day.
I was hiding the only clue.

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I was waiting for something.
The void was screaming at me
But refused to move closer.
I stood
At the edge
Began to climb down the jagged rocks
Precarious and foolishly
With no vision of where I was going.
Only that I had to move.
The void doesn’t scream for no reason.
It is primal.
It is deafening.
It is foreign.
My soul craved to touch the understanding of it
to bask in the light of no screams.
It came without ever moving an inch.
Turns out it was waiting for me to come.
I never arrived anywhere, it never moved either.
Slowly my journey over ledges led me to a place of stillness.
Where people, who stood, without speaking, smiled at me
And understood me.
I never smiled.
Sitting down, pulling my knees up with my arms resting atop
I looked down at the reflection of a quiet river
It had swallowed up the screams with the eyes of the travelers
There is no reason to scream to the lost after they are found.
It came…the smile inside me.

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You know, the world has become a fairly messed up place. Violence, dishonesty, manipulation, power hungry, isolation at a core level, families broken, etc. I use the term fairly in the loosest possible way. I, in literal terms, mean that the human race has been degenerating socially. We make incredible strides in technology but don’t use it to help the human race but to build empires and powerful companies. We use our brilliance and every novel idea to ensure our families stability and wealth. Even within the wave of the new world religions and spiritualists, there is this idea of the law of attraction which is used to change our own lives, gain whatever our heart desires, and explain away suffering as another persons’ fault (shortcoming of their ability to control their thoughts/energy). Always people are a step away, an explanation away. We try to control ourselves and better ourselves with no responsibility for those around us. Our justice is still mostly enacted without internalizing forgiveness or expecting an elevated inner responsibility to rehabilitate our neighbors, friends, community from the problems that causes the malfunction to begin with.
Then here comes Austism. Not just another spiritual sickness like depression, bipolar disorder, etc which holds its own incorrect labels and judgements but a different neurology. It cannot even be categorized simply but holds many different facets, dimentions, and expressions on a neurological level. The world again tries to take the outward symptoms and classify it away in the DSM models as a sickness or a disease or a malfunction of some sort. This is where the world is horribly wrong.
The 21rst century, accross the globe, is primarily neurotypical. There are pockets of places that express and live based off of a slightly different model but primarily life runs the same way. As a whole we can see each country like an organ in the earth body. Each has a different place, a different function but we are all connected and all fairly similar in makeup. We are all on planet earth. We are all human. But we do not all perceive and internalize the same way. Those with Aspergers/austism are like stem cells. They are highly specialized souls that don’t operate like every other cell they are around. But if given the chance can be inserted anywhere and enact great healing. They weren’t made to be like every other cell. If they are seen as hostile or foreign or broken they will always be rejected and no good can take place. But imagine the good that they can do if allowed to stay.
The other day, my son was watching spy kids (the one with Jessica Alba) and the dad got angry that Jessica Alba’s character had hidden that she was a spy in their marriage. My son makes me stop the movie and demands to understand this scene.
“why did she lie? good guys don’t lie”
“why did he hurt her? if he loves her he shouldn’t have put his hurt before her needs”
“why do good people do bad things? doesn’t that make them a ‘bad’ guy”?
There were a million questions like this all centered around one key idea. What separates bad people from good people that make bad choices or simply accidentally make a mistake that hurts someone? My answer? It is in the intentions. The key to all of life is in intentions. If one makes a mistake and they try to repair it, they are still a good person. If a person intends to do something bad because they rationalize inside of their head that it is justified they can still be a good person but they have an error to correct INSIDE. And of course a truly bad person is someone who intends hard, no matter how much they rationalize it or not, but they never intend to fix it. Their hearts have slammed shut for whatever reason and they just don’t care about another person anymore. Their ideas and feelings have become too powerful to allow themselves to care and now they are part of what is destroying humanity. One person at a time. One person gets sacrificed because someone is too angry, too hurt, their ideas need defending too fiercely, etc. My son KNOWS on a deep level that this interaction (that is seen as so normal and healthy) is in fact destructive. He knows a better way. He is trying to come up with a better way. I can teach him that this is just how it is. People need time to explode, get angry and walk away. OR I can teach him a better way to deal with anger betrayal, not having to hide or lie, and repairing friendships when flaws do come up. He is only five and he knows this is possible. Not easy but possible.
I love and hate this wonderful quote:
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I love how it teaches one to invest their mind deeper than gossip. Be a part of this human world, do not simply attack and demean others. When you see a flaw in someone (every person has them) don’t pass this information along and tear them down. If you see a leader with his shoes untied don’t make fun of it and ignore all the good he is doing. Take responsibility for helping uplift humanity and their flaws will naturally be left in the dust. We are better than all of that. We HAVE to demand more of ourselves than that. But on another note, People are the most important part of life. Ideas, strongly held beliefs, events in history are all nothing without people. Human beings. If one person is lonely or isolated, they don’t just start to matter when a tv station picks up their story, they don’t start to matter when someone starts to bully them, they don’t start to matter when they snap and inflict violence on victims. The fact is THEY matter. We need people who see that life itself matters. Souls matter. Standing against bullying is a powerfully good goal but a far better goal is uplifting the lonely and different. A far better goal than fighting against bad is fighting to include those who are trying to fit in.
Autism is a spectrum disorder (I use disorder very very lightly because I don’t actually view it as that). It is a spectrum of those who shut down with all the stimuli of the world. They might be affected so heavily that they can’t use their senses correctly. It breaks their precious souls because it hits them too hard, too fast, and they aren’t able to keep up. A person on the spectrum can be high functioning and have SPD (sensory processing disorder) where they either seek additional input to feel calm or they run from it to feel calm. Aspergers affects some to the point they can’t handle people at all and become reclusive. They break. It affects others to the point it is always a struggle to not succumb to anxiety, depression, social exhaustion, etc. It is a challenge to be sure. But here enters the world again with labels. As if the only way to see the world has to be to label the shortcomings of people. Imagine a world where kids who enter school neurotypical kid was given a label with all of their weaknesses and given a ‘classification’ of how they could never grow up and become ‘normal’. Every teenager would be doomed.
Instead, I like to see ASD as a gift. The world should see its gifts. We all have to learn to work together. There is nothing random about the genetics or the environment bringing about such a high population of those on the spectrum. Autism/Aspergers allows a person to see things very logically. If one does not shut down to all of the feelings they can sense, then they can learn to have an extremely high emotional intelligence that can be passed on to other generations. They can learn to not only read others but read themselves. They can demand more of others and of themselves. Those that work with autistic children know what a challenge and an equal blessing it is. These kids, teenagers, and adults can see the world in a real way, they see beauty deeper, they feel deeper, they can yank humanity from the coma of unconscious action and make it conscious again. It is a choice each individual can make. To see someone unable to function and know internally that it is YOUR time to love them, to shield them, to help them to be free to raise up in strength and succeed. As people do this for others, they will have others do this for them as well.
Irene Gut Opdyke, who wrote the book In My Hands, saved the lives of many Jews during the Holocaust at great risk to her own life. She led a remarkable life and never lost her faith in people. When she moved to America she traveled around the United States sharing what hate does to people and sharing her story. She always started out every lecture with these words…”I am here because I love you”. This is what Autism can do for the world. It is here to help shake us from apathy and our disengaging from others. It is here to rattle the belief that just because something appears broken or flawed that we need to dismiss it, control it, or demand justice for it. It is here to raise humanity to the next level. For those on the spectrum to keep moving forward and loving yourself no matter how overwhelmed your spirit gets. To find peace in the small things and accept who you are. For those whose minds think neurotypically and who feel other challenges every day. To demand more from yourself. To safeguard others, to uplift others, to use your mental strength and grit to be inclusive and show love. Because at the end of the day, what we learn from each other can raise humanity past this roadblock into a more peaceful future. Every difference, every challenge has a beautiful future.
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“I don’t understand why she cares so much about small things”
“If she would just let it go she would be happier”
“She is making a big deal out of nothing”
“How in the world can she think that is ok?”
“what was she thinking?”
“Why the heck did she just say that?”
“I can’t read her. She either seems aloof or just goofy”

An Aspie could hear this her entire life.
She will feel deeper and look deeper than most. In some ways this will make her an expert in human emotion. She will read when someone is hiding something, read when someone likes her but isn’t saying, and identify when someone doesn’t like her but acts like they do. This world is full of facades.
The problem though, is it doesn’t come naturally. It is an analytic process.
I have just as much luck stumbling upon a brilliant philosophical idea as I do in overthinking a situation- believing an emotion is about me when it isn’t at all.
Same as any other aspie lady you know.
And can you really blame us? The world is full of completely wrong signals and we are actively, scientifically identifying them and we are calling out the mistakes. If you are sad but just say you are tired because it means less questions, If you are mad but just say ‘ok’, If you don’t like someone but don’t want to make a big deal, If you snap at someone and then say you were ‘teasing’…an aspie is going to see the dichotomy.
Growing up, my mother always told me “you can’t hold someone accountable for their feelings, only their actions”. This made me into someone who was always quiet. I’d be stuck thinking “wait, you just said this but you are feeling this other way and I need a half an hour to figure out why and decide how to respond” and then it would be too late and i would kick myself in the shins for not being more proactive or saying something witty that didn’t allow the emotional dishonesty to take place. Then of course my zen would return as I told myself to just let it go. yeah, I think too much.
There are days where someone would do something and I would see that schism and decide “nope! I will bring this one up!” and then find out it had nothing to do with me and I had pushed it for no good reason. They look at me like I am an idiot, they feel bothered, I feel stupid. I kick myself in the shin for two weeks wondering “why the heck didn’t you notice it isn’t about you? Why do you have to assume every emotion is about you? learn to just let go and let people be people” and then finally reach zen again ‘letting go’.
Here are just a few things an aspie girl will feel. They aren’t neurotypical but maybe you can relate.
1. when life is going well it feels like you are riding the train of life. It is going along and you are inside the train making meals, talking with people, keeping up just fine because you are on board. You may be tired, sad, happy, playful, or any other emotion but you are doing it on board the train. You can make it just fine. You can relate with people. You ‘feel’ it is possible. Then out of no where you aren’t on board anymore. You can’t stop either. Life isn’t that way of course. Life is always moving. No, now you are being pulled behind the train. But no one seems to notice. If you say “I am sad and can’t seem to do this” they respond “yeah I am sad too. Just do it anyway and it will be ok”. Of course, there is the difference of being pulled behind life and being on board for it.
2. People talk about needing time to recharge. Everyone needs a vacation and rest. But if you miss a little bit you still do fine. For an aspie girl it isn’t like recharging though. They need to rebuild themselves. Think of the differences in those words. Recharge means you are low on battery and you plug in and refill your reserves and go again. Rebuild means you are destroyed in your soul. Something wreaked havoc and tore you apart. This is what happens internally. Life grates at an aspies mind and heart. She will bump into walls because she doesn’t see them. She is ‘too much’ sometimes and other times blends in just fine. She feels an overabundance of the same thing the entire human race feels but she doesn’t intrinsically understand how to fit in. She will have fierce reactions to being misunderstood or feel severely depressed when mislabeled. She has to have time not just to recharge what she knows but to rebuild her world so she understands it and rebuild her self esteem so she continually has faith in herself. Time consuming? Yes. Hard to do? Absolutely.
3. I don’t like labels. In fact, Aspie or Aspergers or Autism just seem silly to me. It is as broad of a spectrum as the human race. But just as you could analyze and figure out how someone with one brain ‘type’ operates, you can analyze how an aspie type operates. They call it stimming, or having a meltdown or numerous other terms. But when those moments happen it is because an aspie is in overload. They have reached their max. Imagine your spirit/soul having a horribly bad sunburn. It hurts to be touched, it hurts to lay down, it hurts to have the air touching it, it hurts for no reason. Touch is bad, even if it is light. Being around people hurts. Having expectations hurts. Having to deal with figuring out what to say so you aren’t misunderstood, and figure out what the other person means, is impossible. You require time to heal away from people. It just ‘hurts’. There isn’t anything weak about it.
I have sucked it up plenty of times. I have gone to parties, or let someone come over, or dealt with a problem (because I am an adult and need to fulfill my responsibilities), which in essence felt like giving someone a hug when you have said sunburn. They hug you like normal and you can barely breath it hurts so bad, but you smile like it didn’t. Because they simply don’t know and you decided you needed to be brave and deal with the hurt for some greater cause. But you aren’t going to be able to be brave forever. If you run away and hide people probably are going to mislabel why or come up with crazy theories. If you are brave enough to figure out how to tell them they probably will not understand. Because lets face it- Unless your spirit has had a sunburn before you just won’t know how it feels.
4. There is a big time pride in your heart for making breakthroughs and helping people. In those moments you don’t crash into an unseen behavioral wall and land on  your butt and look like an idiot, but instead make a push beyond what others understand to raise awareness for something, you can be extremely happy. You helped! In that moment, none of the pain from before is there. You forget all the sunburnt, fall off the train, self hate feelings of ‘Why the crap am I not normal?’ and you believe in yourself. You feel you are contributing. Because you ARE. Life hurts. It sometimes hurts worse in some ways for some people. It may make more sense in some areas for other people. But we all are bumping and crashing and surviving and trying to make ourselves and others happy. Which leads me to the best thing of all. Number five.
5. Being an aspie doesn’t mean I am alone. An aspie is just like everyone else. They feel more of some things, they see less than some others. They analyze until their hearts bleed and their minds collapse. They love with more power than the universe. They can try fiercely to hide or get angry to protect themselves. Because, lets face it, this world is scary and painful and to feel you are alone and messing up can make us tremulous. But every time an aspie or a neurotypical person feels those feelings and tries anyway, loves anyway, keeps being seen anyway, or believes in themselves: They are BRAVE!
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To help a dear friend!

https://fundly.com/diane-s-epilepsy-bills

My friend is in the hospital after another surgery that didn’t go well. She is recovering but has more surgeries coming up. Help her if you can by prayers and/or a donation. Or just send her light and love and share this with as many people as you can. If lots of people do just a little she will get through this❤

Link  —  Posted: March 16, 2014 in Healthy food & lifestyle nook
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Caste me away from this island.
Don’t try to seek out my boat.
You assume it sits atop of the ocean,
You can’t possibly know how remote.
Even when my eyes saw the shoreline
My heart felt waves crash upon me
From deep within the swell of far away earth.
Even when you still could have seen me
I was long gone, my heart was morose.
You searched for a holograph image
Of who I was 5 seconds ago,
But you did not feel the earth when you stood
So my pulse could never be heard.
I was deeply embedded in history-
The images, feelings, and waves
Always washed right through every sinew of thought.
If you didn’t follow that video of music
How could you have followed my thought?
Don’t try to follow me from this island
I am already far too long gone.
I rode away one thought at a time,
long before I started to row.

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I snapped.
Today came too quickly.The monotony hit me like a brick wall suddenly jutting up around a bend in the road and travel was the only way to dissolve it. 
My only and last chance to breath was to break free.
It was obvious in that moment that these walls were all wrong.
Erected to lull into a confinement of safety and borders
If you were walking slow you might have missed the energy
The adamantine force that hits you saying “This is so wrong! It does NOT belong.”
How can limiting yourself possibly be right?
Life is a road and a journey 
No man can make a wall and label it a home
No one would believe such a lie if they were on the move
They would run full force into an obstruction
The soul would scream out ‘why?!’
 This didn’t help me on my journey, it is telling me to stop
Get comfy
Rest
It won’t allow me to pass after I settle here
It will surely say “no!”
Safety beyond those walls is not possible it will then say.
One cannot erect a wall and expect it to not desire to stay.
Everything demands a purpose and will fight to prove their way.
So why would making a solid wall in the middle of the road prove wise?

I broke down that wall
I felt the decay
I had to regenerate all my heart walls that day
I paid attention to where the roots grew
I saw what I was made of and what simply would not do.
To my great surprise my home had no walls
Not for shelter
Not within my country
Not within my planet
Not within this solar system
I had no walls
I didn’t need them it turns out
My soul is endless and I do not fear flying deep within the stars
to discover and follow the solar winds of my world 

Adam glanced at the clock as he walked out the door of work, bone weary from another 70 hour work week. He sat down, exhaling his breath slowly with his eyes closed, and thought to himself as the car started that he had made it through another week. Driving over to a friends party seemed like a great way to unwind. At least, that is what he told himself this morning before his shift. After helping customers all day, lifting boxes, and solving problems for his employees he felt much less enthusiastic about the prospect of being social. Sleep and laying comatose on a couch while eating some dinner and watching his favorite drama he had recorded on his dvr sounded like a winning idea right now. He had already agreed though and he would stop by and try to have some fun. After all, he had earned it! What is the point of working so hard if you can’t also enjoy life and play just as hard?

“Hey man!” Adams friend Ameen greeted Adam at the door. “You haven’t missed much and most of the other guys bailed tonight. Its just me and JT watching the game”.
“Its all good man” Adam responded without much emotion. He was running on autopilot and Ameen always had enough energy to cover the conversation gaps anyway. Adam figured he could just relax in front of the game tonight and let the guys talk it up until he went home. Besides, they had food and that meant no cooking which was always a no-brainer.
“How was work man?” Ameen asked sitting down again in his chair next to a plate of pizza he had left half eaten. He took a bite and remained sitting forward as if he was more energized to talk than motivated to sit back and relax. Adam thought to himself this was a bad sign.
“It was good. I am tired. Working way too many hours as usual”.
“We were just talking about that” Ameen replied.
“Yeah” Jt chimed in “whats up bro? We were just talking about how you work more hours than anyone we know”.
“Got to make the money” Adam replied, filling his plate with pizza and chips. “You need a girl Ameen. Dominos and beer isn’t going to cut it forever.”
“Hey man! Don’t knock game night! I don’t need variety. Besides a girlfriend wouldn’t be too happy about guys night every friday night” Ameen replied laughing. His attitude was always go fast, do what feels right, and don’t make me worry about girls.
Adam laughed. Teasing Ameen never got old.
“You won’t believe what I saw today while picking up the beer” JT interjected, trying to get back on the conversation Adam had interrupted when he had arrived. “I was in the checkout line (not your store) and this lady is checking out with steak and mac and cheese and all this unhealthy crap and she has these three kids that are just screaming! I mean she had no control over them at all. They were just crying, snot running down their noses and she is ignoring them and checking out and she pulls out food stamps and pays for everything. I am like ‘seriously? I work my can off all week and am paying for her? I don’t even have enough money to buy that much steak and if I had kids I would be feeding them better than all that boxed food crap. She obviously couldn’t handle her kids either. Just so sad”.
“I see that all the time” Adam replied. “It is how this country runs now. You get people who are lazy and have no drive in life, who want other hard working people just to take care of them and their kids. They don’t know how to feed them, keep a budget, and constantly abuse the system. You should see the numbers! it is just sickening. All these people taking OUR hard earned money and enjoying good food all for doing nothing. That isn’t what this country was supposed to be man. It was built on hard work”.
“Ya! Obviously not something that lady knows anything about” JT laughed.
“You know what is sad?” added Ameen. “It is sad that you both act like she is stealing money from you.” Ameen felt angry and now Adam could tell why he was so focused and full of energy when he came in. He was still sitting forward but had turned the game down. Adam kept watching and tried to resist getting pulled in for a further discussion. Ameen saw things so inaccurately sometimes. Always fighting for the underdog. Always raising a case for the 2%.
“Man, I don’t want to get into this. But she IS taking my money. I work all week and can barely afford rent and food. I can’t afford much and am paying off all my student loans. But that is the way it SHOULD be.”
“Yah!” JT muttered his approval shaking his head in agreement.
Adam continued “It is a virtue to work hard. I don’t need people who are lazy to take my hard earned money and live better than I do. They get their rent covered, still pay for iphones, get a ton of money for food and sometimes even cash. Then look at what JT just said. They can’t even keep their children under control. Not saying there aren’t those people who have their problems but the church’s should help them out and just give them the basic necessities to live off of. If they want more they should get a job. They shouldn’t be dolling out cash and giving them whatever food they want! There has to be responsibility!! Otherwise you get the entitled generation living off hardworking Americans like me! I work all of the time and I am doing it all by my own two hands. God gave me the ability to do that and even though it is hard I do it. I don’t go asking for handouts and refuse to make something of myself. It is a damn shame”.
Ameen sat so far forward on his chair that Adam wondered if he was even sitting or just squatting now to get out excess energy. He passionately put his hard forward to drive his point home and said “Both of you, I hope you will listen to me. I appreciate how hard working you are and I mean no disrespect but what you just described is so inaccurate that it gives me chills. You see abuse and are fighting so fiercely against it that you aren’t seeing things clearly.”
“Oh I see things perfectly clearly. Are you trying to say no abuse happens? C’mon man. You can’t be that naive” JT responded, obviously starting to become bothered. Adam shook his head staring at the t.v. He wished now he had just stayed home tonight and cancelled. He didn’t need this headache after his long day at work.
Ameen continued, shaking his head no, “No. I know abuse happens. But look at where people are placing the blame. The taxes are taken out of a paycheck that is so low you can barely make ends meet by working amazingly long hours. Both of you are my friends and I see how hard you work! You both paid your dues. Adam you worked your whole way through college and now you work to be independent and make a good career for yourself. That is awesome! JT you went through school and made your own company. It is small but you did it! That is an amazing feat! But have either of you considered, numbers wise, that you should be paid more for all your hard work. The companies that employ you aren’t paying a living wage. JT, you have so many fees associated with your business that you are barely clearing expenses and you are working 24/7.Is that  correct?” JT shook his head in agreement. “Now that is the way it is with business’s. You have to fight for growth. But you can’t compete against the big companies who offer reduced costs because they outsource for such a cheap price you can’t compete. You just said the other day, that unless you could get a loan for additional marketing you would fall through. The banks won’t loan to you, even with good credit, and you are stuck in all the bureaucracy. Adam, you are paying on student loans double what you borrowed because of how high they have hiked the tuition and costs for school. And you got a managers position by working your way up but you still haven’t gotten a job commiserate to what you should earn having a masters in education management and business. You work for a company who has you living on a wage you can’t even buy nice things for working you entire week away at. What about all the people who don’t have an ability to get higher education? What about those who want to work at a small job to pay for school but have to work so much overtime that they don’t have any time for school? The job doesn’t even pay them enough to survive.
How many people who use food stamps, or get rental assistance, or get cash help or any of the other services offered are actually abusing the system though? Do you realize many veterans require assistance upon return because they can’t get hired or they are disabled? Do you realize how many people lose jobs and need assistance? What if the lady you saw today, JT, just had her husband leave her? She is overwhelmed with all those little kids and is trying the best she can. My mother was like that.”
“We aren’t talking about your mother” Adam replied curtly. ” We are talking about all the people who get money and live large off of the government a.k.a hard working people and don’t TRY to better themselves or move on.”
Adam shook his head adamantly. “That is exactly my point. The numbers of people who actually do that are so small compared to those who just get gridlocked or genuinely need help that we shouldn’t waste our time defending ourselves against them. If the system makes it so they can’t survive having even having a low paying job then there is a problem. If our veterans come home from war and they can’t get hired because they don’t have ‘job experience’, if employers are worried about ‘ptsd’ and won’t hire because of risk or a veteran is disabled and does have ptsd that is reducing his ability to work then we don’t have the right to say there is no responsibility to care for them. Church’s can’t take care of every little thing that goes wrong. Want to know where all the money is being funneled? All the money required to aide the poor could be tripled if we took all the subsidies and bailouts that are given to the already wealthy when they struggle in their business’s.
Being poor isn’t a crime. Someone who is poor can make bad decisions just like I can. I can order pizza every Friday and drink beer every night. I am going to die of heart disease and get fat but that is my choice and you guys still love me. They can mismanage finances, and have bad days as much as anyone. They are poor not criminals. If they need help and my taxes help them out great! I would hope the criminal justice system also still prosecutes those who DO abuse the system but it isn’t the majority.” Ameen said with furor.
“We are just going to agree to disagree” JT said.
” I am sorry Ameen. Love ya man. But you forget I WORK in customer service. I see the abuses every day. JT just saw one today. Facts don’t lie”.
“I guess perspectives can’t be changed easily either” Ameen said sadly, sitting back finally in his chair. He drifted off thinking of an experience he had had a long time ago. He thought to himself he  should share it with JT and Adam but remained silent. Sometimes, not even the truth changes opinions.
Still the memory of his mom came back and the game faded into the background.
Ameen’s mother was a first generation to this country. She had seen her parents fight to become citizens and live here on visas half the year for many years. She had finished a task she would never see her parents complete. They had both died in a tragic car accident with her sisters in Egypt and left her alone. She had moved to New York, became a citizen, and worked hard through school until she found a good job. It didn’t pay very much but she had felt happy and self reliant. She had an eye for beauty and she was excellent at her job. One day she fell deeply in love and quit her job to stay at home with her two sons, Ameen and Jamal. They were both good boys and she was happy. But happiness was a pit-stop for her when her husband abandoned her and the boys for a girl he had met at work. She never heard from him again and not even the courts could secure child support for many years. The first few years were rough. She hadn’t been in the job industry for over 8 years now and seemed to not be able to be rehired. So she got government assistance so she could put food on the table. Ameen felt horrible at remembering how rude his brother had become. He was so angry and lost in the whole situation he had blamed their mother and had started to rebel and lash out. Ameen always had been closer to his mom so he stayed close by her and turned more quiet than ever.
One day his mother had come home so excited she was beaming. She laid her bag on the table and reached for a glass of water. Ameen asked “Why are you so happy?”
“I got a job finally!! It won’t pay much and it is just entry level but I know in no time at all I can work my way back to where I was” Ameen’s mother said happily with tears in her eyes. She drank her water and set it down just staring at the counter smiling. When she looked up a minute later she just smiled at Ameen “Things are going to get better! I love you!”
Ameen believed her with his whole heart. She went to work daily for a long time exhausting herself when a few months later Ameen was again in the front room when his mother walked in. This time she was so torn and haggard looking. She looked to0 tired to cry but it looked like her soul was sobbing and parched for worth.
“Whats wrong?” Ameen asked. He followed her into the kitchen where his mom had sat down slowly at the kitchen table.
“I can’t make ends meet. I got this job but it pays so little that I can’t cover our needs. I picked up more hours but I never see either of you boys. A coworker today told me I needed to go get an education if I wanted more. It hurt so deeply. I have done all I am supposed to do. I am a hard worker. I just can’t make ends meet.”
Ameen felt a dash of hope spring to his heart as he remembered the mail. “Ma!” He exclaimed. He didn’t explain his outburst as he dashed into the next room leaving his mother confused at the table. He rushed back into the kitchen a moment later holding a letter. “This came in the mail today and it looks like a marketing company!”
His mothers eyes re-lit a little and she reached for the letter and opened it immediately. Her heart started to speed up with hope. It began to grow roots that lit like the aurora borealis, spreading dreams and hope as it twisted and turned. She quickly read the letter. “Ameen! This company saw my work from before and they want to have me come in for an interview!!! I might get a good marketing job again!”
Excitedly Ameen asked when they wanted her to come in. She looked for a number and called their office. They were closing that night but the lady said she should stop by in the morning. Risking her job at the market she called in saying she would be late and Ameen went to the office with her.
They both sat in lime green chairs looking at an office with sleek graphic designs all of the walls in orange and lime green. the walls were white and there were splashes of symbols in chrome. It was a very successful company and her eye for beauty would benefit them greatly. She was hard working and looked the part. The only sight out of place were the bags underneath her eyes. Ameen looked up but she looked so happy no one would notice he decided. This is where she belonged.
Ameen realized he was a teenager when this memory happened and he couldn’t remember or fully understand the scope of who the players were but he remembered the emotion. He remembered his mother looking beautiful and the Spanish secretary asking me to wait there. Ameen waited as she ushered his mom into a conference room. The very first door in. He could still see her perfectly. He wasn’t interested in watching the game show that was on t.v in the lobby. He watched his mom sit all alone in the conference room full of confidence. He watched as six men entered the room in suits and sat down. They left the door ajar but he couldn’t hear anything but the hum of voices. Ameen was so anxious to read any signs of how it was going but it appeared very sterile. He was still hopeful and relied on the fact she would get the job. No one was better prepared or a better fit. No one could benefit the team more. Ameen KNEW his mom, saw the resume, saw how impressively she held herself. He relaxed a little. She will be fine.
Ameen moved quietly a little closer by the chairs around the corner , crossing his fingers that he would be able to hear them talk. He sat down quietly and could  see through an angel that the receptionist was hard at work and didn’t notice him at all. In the hum of the office and with the game show obtusely reacting with the atmosphere a man in an Armani white suit came up behind the desk to talk to the receptionist. Neither of them knew Ameen was sitting there or could hear. And what was said will always haunt him.
“Where did you find this lady?” the man asked the receptionist. The lady looked up uncomfortably and responded “This was signed off of from multiple managers and I believe her references and job experience are…”
The man interrupted her with a hushed by stern voice. “This woman does not fit our profile for a marketing director. Her experience is old.”
“But she has the needed continued education classes within the past year and she still donates her time to volunteer groups around the city” the receptionist stammered.
“She simply won’t fit in this job.”
“I agree sir” she responded.
Another gentleman had apparently excused himself from the room Ameen’s mom was in and had shut the door. He walked up to the receptionist and the man in Armani and said “James, I just don’t know how this all happened. I feel bad and take responsibility for this but I thought I was sorting through applicants better than this. The last time she held down a job in our industry was over 10 years ago.  Now ide never talk bad about someone and I think she is brave to try to improve herself but she definitely isn’t going to meet the pay grade here”.
Ameen sat in shock. He felt catatonic. His mother didn’t belong. Because she had raised us? Because her current job was such a low position? He was heartbroken. But they were already past it.
“Anyway” the manager from the room continued more upbeat “I have some good news and we can take off when they are through in there. The subsidy for the company came through. Our profits declined too steadily and we had some pending lawsuits which will be closing soon so the banks approved the loan and we got the money from the legislators to cover being under what we planned this year.So we will be fine. Just need to readjust some things and we will take back off from this setback”
The man in Armani laughed jovially without a care in the world “Good!! See? Hard work DOES pay off. I am headed out for golfing and a trip to see my mother in law for a week. I could use a break from all the family drama but you have to keep the wife happy. And she has been wanting to see her. She also has been feeling really neglected lately so I am going to surprise her with a trip to Spain with just me. Hopefully that will ease some of the stress”.
“I hope so too. She has been under a lot of stress lately. She deserves this. She is a good woman.” the manager replied.
Ameen understood this man. He started getting caught up in the humanity of it all. How his wife must miss her husband so much being gone all the time. How hard it must be to have so many responsibilities. But then feelings of anger came in. How dare she get a break and a wonderful trip just because she was a good person? How dare she say she ‘earned’ all this when they got bailouts and help just like Ameen’s mother! She probably didn’t even have to work as hard as his mother!
“Would you like to join me for a round before I go pack?”
“Sure! I have some clients who need some finalized papers but I can brainstorm and do that later.Let me just wrap up some things and i’ll meet you out front in five?”
“Sounds good” the man replied straightening his suit. “Oh, and Marie” he said to the receptionist as he turned to leave “sorry if I came down too hard on you. I know this wasn’t all your fault. You do a great job. I will have something for you next week so you can go treat yourself to something nice after all you have done this week. And don’t worry about the interview. She will find something else more suited for her. She will just have to pay her dues like everyone else and do what i have done and she will get a good position too when its right.”
“Thank you sir!” the receptionist said beaming. “I understand!”
Ameen was left with the sounds of the game show host laughing. It sounded as absurd and devastatingly wrong as if he were laughing at a funeral. Ameen didn’t care what he was really saying. All he heard was the laughter and the deep announcer voice saying “Ameen! Lighten up! This is the way of the world and you just didn’t get the ace! Don’t let it bother you! Laugh laugh laugh laugh”.
Ameen’s mother came out smiling and waved him over to her saying it was time to go. She thanked the receptionist and Ameen watched as the receptionist gave a sad smile and said to have a nice day. She seemed sincere and sad. She felt bad. But Ameen didn’t want her pity for his mom. He didn’t appreciate where she was at in life. He only saw how good she had it. They were giving her perks to take care of herself. She earned good money and only worked normal hours. She had respect, she was treated like every person should. She didn’t have one trait my mother didn’t have and she would convince herself this all was justified so she could go home and feel content again.
If it were true that hard work equaled success then his mother would be a CEO. In fact, If that were true then this great company Ameen had walked in respecting and admiring wouldn’t be great at all. They had bailouts, and handouts just like a poor person but here it was business and in Ameen’s home it was a shameful lazy stigma. Here they could call it a business tide and at home it was called the daily dues of the grindhouse. In a business it reflects business and for the poor it reflects character.
Walking outside, Ameen’s mother paused next to him as the man in the Armani suit drove away with his manager friend in a Lexus with chrome wheels. The manager smiled and nodded. They went off to take care of their families and do work like every other person. Society decided they earned it and were respected. In reality maybe they were good people and had worked hard. Ameen saw them as taking money away from all those who work just as hard if not harder and accepting money for a job NOT well done. He saw greediness. He saw the true leaches of society that masqueraded as self righteous, entitled business’s. Their money let them walk with dignity while all those who struggled underneath them blamed the poor to be the criminals and made them feel worthless. Those who ran big business’s and lived with millions could take their families on lavish vacations, never worry day to day about eating or having a roof over their head or feeling worthwhile. But the poor who had to struggle for every last penny, worry about food and their kids and a roof over their head and how to manage time, were condemned if they accepted help.

Ameen came out of his memory and back to the game. The football was thrown from the familiar players he rooted for. He looked at Adam and JT as they sat zoned in and occasionally pumped up when a good play happened. He realized there was a real war. Every person is the same deep down. The virtues always will be there of hard work, fairness, and independence. No one likes those who want a free ride, who don’t deserve what they earn, and who take advantage of others. The war is internal. The working class is too busy slaving away proving their work through hours and hours of labor. They didn’t earn all that,God allowed them all that. They earned the ability to work so they could develop character not money. One poor person working isn’t more important than a rich person working. They will never be the same, but they both can be treated fair for what they know. Ameen’s friends both deserved a lot more money for all their hard work. And it wouldn’t take much to give them that. Instead of a few earning millions for less work, they could pay those who do the meat of the work a living wage. Ameen realized he shouldn’t resent those who have it better because he could assume they didn’t have to fight for it and work hard and that could be just as inaccurate. The only war then is in the divisions. The barriers where we hate someone for being poor because you think they are leaching or hating someone who is rich because you feel they are greedy and don’t work as hard. The virtue of work is meant to refine us internally. God is the one who gives the increase, the energy of the universe responds to what we need not necessarily what we want.
Ameen didn’t have all the answers. He couldn’t fix that some people will always abuse good things, that some people are lazy and won’t work, and that those in the middle will kick at the poor trying to release shackles they think the poor engineered. He couldn’t fix the perceptions the rich had created to blame the poor for their greed, that they somehow deserved to have excess while others have nothing. He couldn’t fix things for his mom or stop his friends from fighting so fiercely with the wrong people. He couldn’t do it. But he could go to work again tomorrow and love his friends anyway. He could keep loving his mom. And he could keep trying to tell his stories. Maybe one day it would prick someones’ heart and they would realize. They would ‘see’. They would feel. The whole world is connected and we are all basically the same. Fighting to be better with little or a lot.
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